Maybe it would be best for Ohio State if Terrelle Pryor moved on

Ohio State University quarterback and MVP Terrelle Pryor (2) celebrates after his team defeated the University of Arkansas during the NCAA BCS Allstate Sugar Bowl football game in New Orleans, Louisiana January, 4, 2011. REUTERS/Sean Gardner (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

For the moment, let’s refrain from calling Terrelle Pryor an entitled “punk kid” who just got his coached fired. That may be an accurate statement but that isn’t what this is about.

This is about the Ohio State football program and more specially, what’s best for the Ohio State football program. Gerardo Orlando touched on this briefly when Jim Tressel resigned on Monday but the statement is worth revisiting: Ohio State is bigger than just one player. It’s bigger than Terrelle Pryor and it was bigger than troublemaker Maurice Clarett. Whether the Buckeyes suffer the same fate as USC did for the Reggie Bush scandal remains to be scene but nevertheless, they will recover. Ohio State is still going to be Ohio State in the end, even though their rivals to the north would like to believe that the program is falling apart.

With that in mind, maybe it would be best if Pryor got lost – left Columbus with his bags packed and headed for destinations unknown. The Buckeyes have enough to worry about these days without fielding questions about whether or not their star quarterback will be under center after he serves his five-game suspension for trading his sports memorabilia for free tattoos.

Is Terrelle Pryor a special player? No doubt. Since he’s arrived in Columbus, the Buckeyes are 33-6, which includes two-straight bowl victories over Oregon and Arkansas. He’s the type of player that, had he and his tattoo buddies not been suspended for five games, could have taken the Buckeyes to a national title.

But again, he’s only one player. He also represents a massive headache for a program that needs to do some major damage control right now. After Tressel announced his resignation on Monday, Pryor, while being investigated for possibly receiving free cars from a dealership mind you, had the stones to show up at a players-only meeting driving a Nissan 350Z with temporary tags. I guess if he thinks he hasn’t done anything wrong then there’s no reason to take the bus or carpool with a teammate, but is he serious? That ride is valued around $30,000, which is hardly the type of money that a college athlete would have between his couch cushions.

Ohio State doesn’t need this. Not right now, not ever. Pryor might be able to help them win but, as rare as this is, winning might not be the most important thing right now. And again, the Buckeyes will recover.

USC is currently in year two of a two-year bowl ban thanks to the Bush infractions. And while their recruiting has taken a hit, Lane Kiffin isn’t going to have trouble getting California kids to come to Southern Cal. That’s not to say that they’ll win under him, but he won’t need to try very hard to convince high school athletes to be a Trojan.

The same can be said for Urban Meyer when he starts recruiting as the head football coach at Ohio State. (I’m kidding – relax.) Let me start over: The same can be said for whoever takes over as head coach of the Buckeyes. Even given the current state of the program, they’re still on the top step of the Big Ten ladder. Prospects in Ohio and surrounding regions aren’t suddenly going to flood Purdue, Illinois or even Notre Dame (which has high academic standards) because Ohio State is in turmoil. The Buckeyes will still be able to recruit after this.

That’s why it may be beneficial for OSU if Pryor applied for the NFL supplemental draft. Or was suspended indefinitely. Or drove one of his 12 new cars to South Beach to hang with LeBron and never return. Many people in Columbus are already blaming him for the program losing Tressel and chances are he is guilty of violating NCAA rules. With that in mind, maybe Pryor can do OSU a favor and exit stage left.

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